The University of Central Florida
In April 2005 Matt DiFebo was recruited to the UCF Athletic Association
by, then, Director of Athletics, Steve Orsini (now at SMU) to implement
an in-house ticket sales department. DiFebo left his front office
position with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics to pioneer a ticket
sales initiative in collegiate athletics. At the time, UCF Football
had the longest losing streak in the nation and played at the off-campus
Citrus Bowl stadium in downtown Orlando, 13 miles from campus.
Matt set his focus immediately to build a ticket sales department
that would revolutionize the collegiate industry and how athletic
departments generate ticket revenue and fundraising contributions.
Matt methodically went to work on building an infrastructure designed
for success and creating synergy among all external departments.
What is now commonly referred to as “The DiFebo Model”
was created and success soon followed. DiFebo concentrated on several
• Gain ‘buy-in” and commitment from University
and Athletic Administrators
• Recruit and hire a ticket sales staff dedicated full-time
staff dedicated to proactively selling tickets
• Create a “Sales Culture” in collegiate athletic
• Coordinated with all external departments to improve fan
relations and revenue strategies
• Reorganized ticket operations with focus on revenue strategies
and customer service focus
• Concentrate on areas (revenue sports) with greatest Return
on Investment (ROI)
• Ticket pricing strategy to show value of product; reduce
practice of ticket discounting and eliminate unnecessary comp ticket
• Training focused on sales technique, proactive selling,
and customer service
• Building centralized database of “qualified”,
targeted prospects to target
• Implement year-round sales cycle and campaigns focused on
NEW season ticket acquisition and retention
• Developed and implemented partial plan and group sales campaigns
to generate additional revenue, and grow database
• Incorporated fundraising campaigns into ticket sales strategy
• Developed customer service campaigns to communicate with
fans throughout entire year
• Implement performance tracking metrics and reporting procedures
to track revenue production and sales activity
In the first full year of operation, the ticket sales department
gained the adulation and confidence from the core fan base that
previously had not experienced such favorable customer service.
More impressive was the increase in football ticket sales revenue
by over $2.3 million dollars from the previous season.
The following two seasons the sales department would increase ticket
sales revenue by over $4.5 million dollars from the 2005 season.
In addition, nearly $3 million in fundraising dollars have been
generated by the department in the past four years.
DiFebo gained recognition from his peers around the nation as a
leading expert in collegiate ticket sales. His notoriety has lead
to frequent request for his expertise and consulting services. Among
the first clients was the University of South Alabama Athletic Department.
In January 2008, DiFebo contracted with the school to build an in-house
ticket sales department modeled after his UCF prototype. Following
his recipe for success he worked with University administrators
and revenue-minded athletic administrators to implement the sales
model. Before the first basketball season the program achieved a
100% increase in, both, ticket sales revenue and season tickets.
The South Alabama ticket sales staff was also tasked with selling
season tickets for its inaugural football campaign set to kick-off
in September 2009. Heading into the first season the newly created
ticket sales department has sold nearly 8,000 season tickets and
generated an additional $200,000 in fundraising contributions.
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